The 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia is all set to kick off on August 18 and we can surely sense the perception of optimism. As many as 541 athletes have travelled to take part in 37 sporting events which include Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Boxing and Wrestling amongst others. But do you know there is a sport in the Asian Games where India have dominated and have successfully defended their medal since the beginning.
Inception of Kabaddi in Asian Games:
We are talking about Kabaddi. India have long been touted as one of the superpowers in Kabaddi and they have well and truly kept their mantle in this continental championship since its inclusion. Kabaddi was first included at the Asian Games in 1982 as an exhibition sport but was later discontinued, only to be incorporated again in 1990 (this time, permanently).
Indian journey throughout the years:
In the 1990 Asian Games at Beijing, China, six nations participated in a round robin competition where India won all of their five games with relative ease. Their final game came against Bangladesh and India went on to dismantle their neighbours by an impressive 52–17. The 1994 edition of the tournament saw five nations locking horns, and once again, India went on to bulldoze their opponent, beating Nepal 84–32 in the final round.
On came the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok and for the third time running, India went on an undefeated run before bringing home the gold medal. The next four editions (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014) too saw India shattering their counterparts without losing a single game before grabbing the ultimate prize.
In seven editions of the competition thus far, India have successfully defended their medal every time they have stepped on the mat. Talking numbers, a total of 9 gold medals have been won (7 men, 2 women).
Unlike the men's edition, women's category was included in 2010 and the contingent hasn't disappointed as well; two golds in two editions.
Having said that, the Indian contingent (both men and women) will be hoping to continue the same run of form and build on the prestige once they take on their opponents in Indonesia this month. And these athletes have been given the mantle for that to happen:
Girish Maruti Ernak, Deepak Niwas Hooda, Mohit Chhillar, Sandeep Narwal, Pardeep Narwal, Rishank Devadiga, Raju Lal Choudhary, Rahul Chaudhari, Rohit Kumar, Mallesh Gangadhari, Monu Goyat, Ajay Thakur
Standby: Amit Nagar, Maninder Singh
Ritu Negi, Sonali Vishnu Shingate, Usha Rani Narasimhalah, Shalini Pathak, Sakshi Kumari, Randeep Kaur Khehra, Manpreet Kaur, Sayali Sanjay KeriPale, Kavita Devi, Payel Chowdhury, Priyanka, Madhu
Standby: Priyanka, Shama Parveen